Stone, Charles A.

Stone, Charles A. (Augustus)

(1867–1941) electrical engineer; born in Newton, Mass., and Webster, Edwin S. (Sibley) (1867–1950) electrical engineer; born in Roxbury, Mass. They met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; both studied electrical engineering, becoming such close friends that they were always known as "Stone and Webster." Discouraged from going into business together by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, Stone worked for a welding and then a manufacturing company, and Webster worked for Kidder, Peabody & Company. Then in 1889, with a loan from their parents, they opened the Massachusetts Electrical Engineering Company, a consulting firm. The first project was a hydroelectric plant to supply a Maine paper mill (1890). They managed public utilities from 1895; established a securities department in 1902 to finance utility companies; and continued engineering and construction. By 1912 they occupied an 8-story building with about 600 consultants and employees, yet they kept their desks side-by-side, and signed their correspondence "Stone & Webster." Among their notable achievements was the Los Angeles Big Creek transmission system (1913). In 1920 they incorporated as Stone & Webster, Inc., and in subsequent years they established subsidiary firms to manage various aspects of their operations—the sale of securities, the engineering and construction projects, the management of public utilities. By the 1930s Stone & Webster had completed more than $1 billion in construction, significantly advancing the electrification of America. Among their personal interests, Webster was a horticulturalist, and Stone raised horses.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.